Nurses union SG arrested after exam cancellation protest

Johannesburg - The Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union (YNITU) intends bringing an urgent bail application on Saturday for the release of its secretary general Mdu Ndlovu who was arrested following clashes outside the SA Nursing Council (SANC) on Friday.

YNITU president Lerato Madumo-Gova alleged that Ndlovu was beaten by security guards as he tried to help restore calm during angry outbursts over the scrapping of nursing exams already written due to cheating allegations.

''The security guards at the SA Nursing Council assaulted him,'' said Madumo-Gova in between consulting with a lawyer for the urgent release of Ndlovu.

The YNITU, which is affiliated to the breakaway SA Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), had been expecting to attend a meeting with the registrar at the SANC's offices in Pretoria, with the support of the Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command, over the cancellation of the exams.

The SANC announced on June 12 that it was cancelling the first-year and second-year exams already written in May because of alleged cheating.

According to the council, some students had access to the exam papers for the bridging course for enrolled nurses which leads to registration as a general or psychiatric nurse.

Students would have to rewrite their exams between June 28 and 30.

Madumo-Gova said everybody also had to pay the R1 500 examination fee again.

Members of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) were also out in force at the SANC over the issue.

Urgent bail application

The Congress of SA Trade Unions-affiliated union is already taking legal action against the SANC over the decision to cancel the exams.

Madumo-Gova said guards were aggressive to anybody who tried to take photographs of the angry scenes outside the SANC offices in Pretoria and Ndlovu was allegedly targeted by the guards as he tried to help restore calm.

She alleged that Ndlovu was taken to a room in the SANC building and beaten so badly by the guards that he had to be taken to hospital.

He was placed under police guard there while receiving treatment for head wounds, she continued.

He was released and taken to the Sunnyside police station where he was allegedly not read his rights and the union did not know what he was being accused of.

The union is hoping to secure a judicial officer to hear an urgent bail application on Saturday so that he can be released.

SAFTU spokesperson Patrick Craven called for the immediate release of Ndlovu.

''SAFTU sends Comrade Mdu best wishes for a full and speedy recovery from his injuries and demands his immediate release by the police, the dropping of all charges and a full inquiry into the assault of YNITU members by security staff,'' said Craven.

Comment was not immediately available from the police or the council.

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